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When conducting audit or assurance engagements which independence requirements apply?

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Published: 24 Jan 2020 Updated: 03 Jul 2023 Update History

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Technical helpsheet issued to help ICAEW members identify which independence requirements apply to specific audit, review and assurance engagements.


This helpsheet has been issued by ICAEW’s Technical Advisory Service to help ICAEW members to identify which independence requirements apply to specific audit, review and assurance engagements.

Members may also wish to refer to the following related guidance and resources:

Independence requirements

Type of audit or assurance engagement

ICAEW independence requirements


Audit engagements in accordance with ISAs (UK).

FRC Ethical Standard.

  • Statutory or other audits, or engagements involving a ‘true and fair’ or ‘fairly presents’ conclusion.
  • Client asset/client money accountant's reports, as required by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Assurance engagements for other public interest entities.

FRC Ethical Standard.

  • Assurance on AIM listed entities which exceed the threshold to be an SME listed entity as calculated by the FRC Ethical Standard definitions.

Audit engagements performed in accordance with other standards.

Part 4A of the ICAEW Code of Ethics or the FRC Ethical Standard.

Note: Members should also be aware that it is not appropriate to adopt the IESBA Code of Ethics for non-ISA audits. This is because the ICAEW Code of Ethics built on the IESBA code, therefore if a member only applied the IESBA code they may not be fully complying with the requirements placed on them by their ICAEW membership.

  • Audits in accordance with auditing standards other than ISAs (UK).
  • Audits of unincorporated divisions of overseas companies.

Review engagements

Review engagements are assurance engagements conducted in accordance with International Standards on Review Engagements (ISRE) or equivalent, in which a professional accountant in public practice expresses a conclusion on whether, on the basis of the procedures which do not provide all the evidence that would be required in an audit, anything has come to the accountant’s attention that causes the accountant to believe that the financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with an applicable financial reporting framework.

Part 4A of the ICAEW Code of Ethics or the FRC Ethical Standard.

In addition, CC32 for Independent examination of charities.

  • Review in accordance with ISRE 2400 Engagements to Review Financial Statements.
  • Review in accordance with ISRE 2410 Review of Interim Financial Information Performed by the Independent Auditor of the Entity.
  • Review in accordance with TECH 09/13 AAF Assurance Review Engagements on Historical Financial Statements.
  • Independent examination of charities (which should be conducted in accordance with guidance issued by the appropriate regulator; the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Scottish Charity Regulator or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland).
  • Public sector year-end audits.
  • Auditors statement about pension contributions in accordance with FRC Practice Note 15 (Revised) The Audit of Occupational Pension Schemes in the United Kingdom.

Other types of Assurance engagements.

Part 4B of the ICAEW Code of Ethics (assuming that the assurance engagement is not undertaken by the auditor of the entity).

If the assurance client is also an audit or review client the requirements of Part 4A of the ICAEW Code of Ethics also apply.

  • Assurance reports in accordance with AAF 01/06 Assurance Reports on Internal Controls of Service Organisations Made Available to Third Parties.
  • Assurance reports in accordance with AAF 02/07 A Framework for Assurance Reports on Third Party Operations.
  • Any assurance engagements on prospective financial or non-financial information.
  • Assurance engagements carried out in accordance with ISRE 3000 Assurance Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information, and other assurance engagements based on ISAE 3000 such as those on controls at a service organisation, greenhouse gas and sustainability reports.
  • Accountant's reports on grant claims in accordance with AAF 01/10 Framework Document for Accountants’ Reports on Grant Claims.
  • Accountant's reports in accordance with the SRA Accounts Rules.
  • Accountant's reports in accordance with the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
  • Accountant's reports for Registered Social Landlords.
  • Accountant's reports under s21 of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985.
  • Accountant's’ reports in connection with Client Money Protection (CMP) schemes such as Money Shield and Propertymark.
  • Accountant's’ reports issued by an ATOL Reporting Accountant to the CAA.

If in doubt seek advice

ICAEW members, affiliates, ICAEW students and staff in eligible firms with member firm access can discuss their specific situation with the Ethics Advisory Service on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or via webchat.

Terms and conditions

© ICAEW 2024  All rights reserved.

ICAEW cannot accept responsibility for any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any material contained in this helpsheet. This helpsheet is designed to alert members to an important issue of general application. It is not intended to be a definitive statement covering all aspects but is a brief comment on a specific point.

ICAEW members have permission to use and reproduce this helpsheet on the following conditions:

  • This permission is strictly limited to ICAEW members only who are using the helpsheet for guidance only.
  • The helpsheet is to be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use only and is not for re-distribution.

For further details members are invited to telephone the Technical Advisory Service T +44 (0)1908 248250. The Technical Advisory Service comprises the technical enquiries, ethics advice, anti-money laundering and fraud helplines. For further details visit icaew.com/tas.

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Changelog Anchor
  • Update History
    24 Jan 2020 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    First published
    18 Oct 2021 (03: 45 PM BST)
    Changelog created, helpsheet converted to new template
    18 Oct 2021 (03: 46 PM BST)
    Client asset/client money accountants reports has been moved from Other types of Assurance engagements, to Audit engagements row in table.
    16 Jan 2023 (12: 00 AM GMT)
    Table updated for some additional references and review types.
    03 Jul 2023 (05: 34 PM BST)
    Table updated - note added re. ICAEW Code of Ethics or the FRC Ethical Standard codes of ethics. Punctuation added (accountant's). Links updated.